Barbados is a small country located in the Caribbean Sea. The capital is
Bridgetown with a population of about 8,789. The head of state of Barbados is
Queen Elizabeth II and she is represented by General Dame Nita Barrow. The
total population of the country is around 252,000. The main language is English
and the predominant religion is Christianity. Their date of independence was
November 30, 1966.
Barbados is the eastern most Caribbean Island. It is about 200 miles
North-North East of Trinidad and about 100 miles East-South East of St. Lucia.
It is the second smallest country in the Western Hemisphere. The major urban
centers in the area include Bridgetown, Speightstown, Oistins, and Holetown.
The land is mainly flat except for a series of ridges that rise up to about
1,000 feet and then falling towards the sea.
The climate of the region consists of tropical temperatures influenced by
the Northeast trade winds. The average annual temperature is approximately 77
degrees Fahrenheit. The daily temperatures rarely get above 90 degrees
Fahrenheit. The dry season is cool, while the wet season is slightly warmer.
The main rains come during the months of July, August, September, October, and
November. The annual average rainfall is 40 inches in the coastal areas and 90
inches in the central areas.
The net migration into Barbados is 4.82 per 1000. The annual growth rate
is 0.4%, which is one of the lowest in the world. The annual birthrate is 15.45
per 1000, and the annual deathrate is 8.27 per 1000. Barbados ranks fourth in
the World in population density with the overall density being 1526 per square
mile. The whole island is inhabited, leaving no sparsely populated areas. The
main race is Negro, which is about 92% of the population. The remainder of the
population is consists of Whites (3.8%), Mulattoes (3.8%), and East Indians
(0.4%). About 70% of the population is Anglican. The other 30% belong to
various denominations such as Moravian, Methodist, and Roman Catholic.
Barbados was once under British control from 1624. Its House of Assembly,
which began in 1639, is the third oldest legislative body in the Western
Hemisphere. By the time Britain left in 1966, the island was completely English
in culture. The British influence is still seen today in quaint pubs, cricket
games on the village greens, and in the common law.
Barbados’ government is British Parliament. The queen is the head of state
and she is represented by the governor general. The governor general appoints
an advisory council. The executive authority is the Prime Minister who is Owen
Seymour Arthur which came into power on September 6, 1994. The Deputy Prime
Minister is Billie Miller who also came into power on September 6, 1994. The
democratic government works well in the country. They have had three general
elections and one smooth transfer of power from the Democratic Labor Party to
the Barbados Labor Party. Barbados carries on trade with other Caribbean
nations and does have diplomatic relations with Cuba. Their closest relations
are with the United Stated, and the United Kingdom. Barbados joined the United
Nations is 1966.
The economy of Barbados is one of the 35 upper middle-income countries of
the world. They have a free-market economy, but the dominant sector is private.
Their economy is based on sugar and tourism, but the government has encouraged a
policy of diversification in order to achieve a more stable nation. They also
depend on a light manufacturing industry. Their monetary unit is the Barbados
dollar. The coins are made in 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents. The paper money is made
in 1, 5, 10, 20, and 100 dollar bills. One U.S. dollar is equal to 2.01
Barbados dollar (1975).
About 60% of the land is cropland. The agriculture industry employs 7.4%
of the labor force and contributes about 8.7% to the Gross Domestic Product.
Sugarcane makes up over half the acreage. Bananas are also grown, but only on a
limited scale. Sea island cotton is also grown. All of the farmers are
required by regulations to plant at least 12% of their arable land with some
Barbados’ natural resources include petroleum, fishing, and natural gas.
The fishing industry employs about 2,500 people and 500 small boats. Their are
no natural forests in the country. Manufacturing contributes about 11.2% to the
GDP. Manufacturing and mining employ about 18.9% of the labor force. The
majority of the industrial establishments are engaged in some form of sugar
processing. Sugar is the principal export. The principal imports include
machinery, motor vehicles, lumber, and fuels. Barbados’ per capita income of
$9,200 makes it one of the highest standards of living of all the small island
states of the Eastern Caribbean. Barbados is also one of the many transshipment
points for narcotics bound for the U.S. and Europe.
Some of the current issues in the country consist of the pollution of
coastal waters from the waste disposal ships, soil erosion, and illegal solid
waste disposal that threatens contamination of aquifers. Barbados is also
plagued with natural disasters such as hurricanes and landslides. Their
hurricane season is between the months of June and October, which is the same
season as the U.S.
The World Factbook 1995. Central Intelligence Agency. 1995.
The World in Figures. Showers, Victor. 1973. Library of
Encyclopedia of the Third World. Kurian, George Thomas. 1987.
Library of Congress.
World Christian Encyclopedia: A comparative Study of Churches and
the Religions in the Modern World, AD 1900-2000.
Caribbean Week. “Barbados.” Internet.